Behind Closed Doors

Torture and Detention in Egypt

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This report examines gross human-rights abuses in Egypt: torture and long-term detention without charge or trial. It focuses particularly on the use of torture by officers and soldiers of the Ministry of Interior's General Directorate for State Security Investigation (SSI) during the period when political and security suspects are held in incommunicado detention. Senior Egyptian officials have consistently denied that torture occurs. Interior Minister Gen. Muhammed Abdel Halim Moussa told Middle East Watch in February 1992 that allegations of torture are "absolutely contrary to the truth." Gen. Moussa's denial echoed comments made two years earlier by Interior Ministry spokesmen for his predecessor, Gen. Zaki Badr. Although this report deals only with torture by SSI, there is ample evidence that torture and the sub-culture of violence has pervaded ordinary police work. Compounding the problem, as this report indicates, is a lack of will by the Prosecutor General's office to fulfill its legal obligation to investigate and prosecute such abuses, and the lack of effective internal police-control mechanisms.

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